The English Teacher

by R. K. Narayan

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Describe Krishna's love for his child in The English Teacher.

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Krishna deeply loves his daughter Leela in R. K. Narayan's The English Teacher. He cares for her tenderly from her birth. When her mother dies, Krishna assumes the role of both father and mother for Leela and eventually goes to work at her school.

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In The English Teacher, R. K. Narayan presents Krishna as a somewhat atypical Indian father who takes a central role in his daughter Leela's life.

At the beginning of the novel, for instance, Krishna has no trouble watching and playing with Leela while her mother cooks dinner. Leela is whimpering and fussy, but her father calms her and keeps her occupied. When Leela gets covered in mud and her mother cleans her up, Krishna is struck by how beautiful his daughter is. He tells the little girl so as he takes her in his arms and hugs her.

After Krishna's wife dies, Krishna makes the commitment to raising Leela on his own. Other men might have passed her along to relatives out of a sense that they could not care for a young child without help. Krishna, however, refuses to do this. He gets someone to watch his daughter while he works, but otherwise, he takes on the roles of both mother and father for the little girl, doing his best to meet all her needs and worrying about her constantly.

Krishna enrolls Leela in a preschool, for he finds out that her babysitter has been letting her go sometimes already. Krishna is extremely proud and happy with his daughter's accomplishments at school. She is already beginning to make her mark on the world even in a small way, and this pleases her father immensely, for he loves her dearly and wants only her success.

In fact, Leela's school experiences make a huge difference in Krishna's own life. He has long been growing dissatisfied with his job teaching English literature to Indian college students, who are almost always uninterested. By the end of the novel, Krishna makes a change and begins working with the young children at Leela's school. He is much more satisfied with this job, for he can be near his daughter and, he believes, make a much greater difference in other people's lives.

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